June 14, 2021 Price Gouging Weekly Roundup
A Texas manufacturer filed suit against an Iowa-based energy company alleging the company engaged in price gouging during February’s winter storms. The manufacturer filed a federal lawsuit alleging its energy provider violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act by billing an additional $54,000 in utility fees in April. The manufacturer cites the “fixed-rate electricity plan” it signed with its provider and claims that the additional charges are illegal.
On June 7, 2021, South Carolina Governor McMaster announced he would not renew South Carolina’s COVID-19 related state of emergency. During the state of emergency, which lasted 14 months, The Governor issued 30 declarations of emergency, each lasting 15 days. The application of South Carolina’s price gouging statute expires along with the expiration of the Governor’s final emergency declaration.
A summertime dinner favorite, the lobster roll faces higher market prices, forcing some restaurant owners to remove lobster from their menu. The average cost of a lobster roll in New Brunswick is between $18-$32. While international market demand for lobster plummeted at the outset of the pandemic last year, recent increases in demand have increased prices. Restaurants expressed concerns about the appearance of price gouging, but also seek to educate consumers about the increased supply costs.
The Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission has initiated investigations into nine traders it suspects of engaging in price gouging. The agency has issued a requisition for information notice, which requires the businesses to present business documents including cost details and supplier invoices. The information request may be followed with cautionary interviews.